Yesterday, Zach posted a blog about the continued issues at the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp (WEDC) and pointed out that this is a Republican issue. WEDC has awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax credits to companies who haven’t earned them. They have issued millions of dollars in loans that haven’t been earned either and in many cases has failed to recover the tax payer supplied funds.
And this isn’t the only audit that they have failed…they do seem proud of the fact that each audit has shown improvement…but by now they should have straightened up this mess completely.
Hogan ( WEDC leader Mark Hogan ) said in a letter in response to the audit that it is focused on continual improvement, noting that audit recommendations have decreased from 24 in 2015 to 19 in 2017 and 10 in the latest report.
So why am I so adamant at laying this at feet of the Wisconsin GOP? Because they created this department, have supervised this department since its creation, and passed a lame duck bill restricting newly elected Governor Evers access to the department. Woo-yee!
And the scary part is: they are tasked with monitoring the progress of the Foxconn project and the $3+ billions in tax credits they can potentially earned. But here’s a little background:
The report from the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau examined the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., a quasi-private agency created under Republican former Gov. Scott Walker that is in charge of job creation and dispenses more than $3.1 billion a year in tax credits, grants, loans and bonds.
WEDC has struggled since its creation in 2011 on a number of fronts, including recovering loans made to companies that don’t meet contractual requirements.
Democratic Gov. Tony Evers campaigned as a critic of Foxconn and on wanting to dissolve the economic development agency, but backed off that promise after he defeated Walker. However, the Republican-controlled Legislature sought to protect WEDC by passing a law in a lame-duck session preventing Evers from replacing its CEO until September.
WEDC also doesn’t know exactly how many jobs were created or retained as a result of awards that had ended because it did not collect enough information from recipients, the audit said.
The audit also faults WEDC for not consistently complying with state laws and its contracts…emphasis mine
If state laws were broken, why hasn’t anyone been indicted? Former Governor Walker for instance. He was the first CEO of WEDC? None of the board members? None of the legislative leadership (they set the joint up and are tasked with oversight of state departments and agencies)? Those conservative fiscal no taxation people have no idea how to run a state government.
But not to worry! Third time is the charm!!
Hogan addressed all of the recommendations in detail and said WEDC would be working internally to come up with an action plan. He said all recommended changes should be “substantially implemented” by the end of the year. emphasis mine
And why would I believe that they will complete any needed changes by the end of the year…when they haven’t been able to fix things over the past eight years?
The Wisconsin Legislative GOP…doing one thing while saying another since 2010!